It was December, 2001. The sounds of Christmas Carols were in the air. Two sisters, Misty and Stephanie, were getting ready for the holidays. Both had the same thing on their wish list.
"I've been waiting a long time to be adopted," says Misty. "I want a mom and dad that will be there for me and love me and care for me," adds Stephanie.
Their wish finally came true March 12th of this year in Hopkins County. Terry and Sandy stand before Judge Scott McDowell preparing to increase their family by two. Judge McDowell says "Unlike a natural birth, you selected these two children. I think that's a real honor that you were selected by these parents."
It's not the first time Terry and Sandy have been in this courtroom. They have already adopted six other foster children. "I just believe we all have a purpose for being here. I feel like we should try to alleviate pain and suffering in the world anyway we can and this is just something we can do, you know, give opportunity and hope and possibility to children that need that," says Terry.
Sandy says, "There's just so many children out there. I mean family is everything. If you don't have a family, then you don't have anything to build on."
Misty and Stephanie now have something to build on. "I never had a family that will take care of me until now. I got my wish because I needed a family to take care of me, says Misty." Her younger sister Stephanie adds, "It's terrific and it makes me very happy because I'm finally getting adopted."
Now a family of ten, these two young girls will have the support and role models they need as they grow up into young ladies. "I have already seen changes in these girls. It's because they just really have a sense of belonging and stability and they know they belong. Their whole attitudes change when they know they belong somewhere," explains Sandy.
And for these two sisters, getting to stay together was very important. "Because she's the only one left of my real family," says Stephanie.
Back in the courtroom Judge McDowell announces, "I hear by grant this adoption." It was a long awaited, emotional day for Misty and Stephanie as they put their past behind them and focus on their future. "I was crying because I was happy," said Misty wiping tears from her eyes.
This now makes a family of ten, with plenty of love to go around. Sandy said, "They're my life. All of them together and individually." Terry sums it up by saying, "I guess it's the reason we do it. It's love. It's the Gift of Love."
As these sisters head off to begin their new life, this year, they will look forward to the upcoming holiday season, finally sharing it with their forever family. Stephanie says, "I love 'em!"
If you'd like to know more about fostering or adoption call our Gift of Love hotline. The toll free number is 1-888-kids-275.